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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mulder must meet with doctor again

By Derrick Goold

DENVER — Rehabbing Cardinals starter Mark Mulder will meet with a team doctor this morning in St. Louis to have his twice surgically repaired shoulder looked at after he experienced fatigue late in his start Monday.

Mulder has a week remaining on his rehab assignment, but manager Tony La Russa agreed that the lefthander's next start is in doubt until the team hears from Dr. George Paletta.

"It's not sore, it's just a little shoulder fatigue," La Russa said. "Maybe he's been pushing too hard. ... We've said some things about not wanting to push him. We'll see what Dr. Paletta has to say."

Mulder threw 90 pitches in six innings for Class AAA Memphis on Monday night. He allowed seven runs on nine hits and had trouble finishing off hitters and innings.

After the game, Mulder explained that he had felt "a little fatigue in the left shoulder," said general manager John Mozeliak, who was at the game in Memphis. Mulder, who has a 6.66 ERA and allowed 33 hits in 25 2/3 innings on his rehab assignment, is scheduled to make his sixth rehab start Saturday in Tucson. His assignment ends May 14.

Mozeliak said he would "hate to characterize it until he's seen the doctor and we know the results. ... We hope it's nothing serious."

Mulder is returning from his second rotator cuff operation in as many seasons. He returned last season to make three starts, lost all three and allowed 15 runs in 11 innings — then had surgery to repair a portion of the rotator cuff that didn't completely heal. La Russa said Mulder saw "our need" and pushed to return.

"He sees that you just can't push Mother Nature," La Russa said, "no matter how bad he wants it."


With his double in the first inning Tuesday, Albert Pujols broke a personal best by reaching base for the 34th consecutive game to start a season. In every game the Cardinals have played, even the one he did not start, Pujols has reached base by hit or walk. His longest streak at any time in a season was 48 consecutive games, back in his rookie year of 2001.

Since 1999, only three players have had longer streaks to open the season by reaching base (hit, walk or hit by pitch): Derek Jeter's 53, Jim Thome's 37 and Luis Gonzalez's 35.

"You can't do that without having a consistent, tough mental attitude," La Russa said. "It's about not taking an at-bat off, not taking an inning off, not taking a game off."


The first pitch of Joel Pineiro's 10-pitch grind against Colorado starter Ubaldo Jimenez on Monday was a 95 mph fastball to the forearm. Pineiro swung his arm into the pitch, so it was a strike and not a free base. On Tuesday, there was only mild bruising of the forearm, and it did not swell as Pineiro expected. The at-bat ended with a two-run double, but it also effectively ended Pineiro's night. He was removed for a reliever that same inning. "I can laugh about it now," Pineiro said after the game. "But it made it hard for me to get the offspeed stuff down. I got hit around because of that."


Anthony Reyes is set to make his first start for Memphis on Friday in Las Vegas. The righthander was optioned to the affiliate Sunday, primarily to get him guaranteed innings as a starter but also to give interested teams a scheduled look at him. Reyes is 1-1 with a 5.27 ERA as a reliever in the majors this season after pitching a scoreless two innings Saturday against the Chicago Cubs.


Among the pitchers La Russa considered off limits for Tuesday's game were closer Jason Isringhausen — who had pitched part of three games in four days — and rookie Mike Parisi. Parisi's major-league debut Monday night was also his first relief appearance in 102 professional games. "We don't know how quickly he bounces back," La Russa said. La Russa planned to give the rookie at least two days off, "but if he feels great after one day's rest, we'll look at him."

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